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Helpful Tips For
Returning To School
Special to the Jewish News
he "back to school" tidal wave
is approaching fast. We have
four kids in three different
schools, and we use some of these
approaches to shape positive expecta-
• Send the teacher an email. Work
with your child and send it from
him or her saying something like,
"I am ready for the new school year
and looking forward to being in your
class:' This is especially helpful for a
shy child as the teacher will normally
respond with a quick email back and
the child will experience the first per-
• Understand the school's electron-
ics policy and get your child ready.
Because technology is moving so
quickly, policies shift quickly to adapt.
Do they allow laptops and cell phones?
Are the cell phone ringers turned off
but texting is allowed? Use something
sharp to scratch your child's name
onto any device that leaves your
• Plan out breakfast for the entire
first week. The menu should consist
of what they will actually eat. Our
youngest two want macaroni and
cheese and chunky soup for breakfast,
so we let them eat it. We feel better
knowing they have something in their
• If there are back-to-school "sup-
ply lists," incorporate into some-
thing fii.n and let them handle the
money. I have my kids go with the
babysitter to the school supply store
then get ice cream or lunch after-
wards. They like to pick their own
stuff, and they especially like to pay
(and it starts teaching them what
• Make an agreement with each
child about how you will wake
them up. One of our kids likes to get
carried to the kitchen and placed in a
chair. Being organized and getting up
and out on time are big challenges.
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• End the first week with a celebra-
tion! We go to dinner and take small
video clips of a funny interview with
each child. We ask what their favorite
things were the first week and for
them to make an imitation of the
teacher. Then we email their clips to
them — they think they are so funny,
and enjoy watching themselves end-
or gar a
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• We put small notes in their
backpacks, sports bag or lunch.
We write things like "you are brave"
or "have the best day ever." We ask
open-ended questions every day
and try not to correct them when
they answer. Who do you sit next to
in class now? What was lunch like?
What's your new teacher like?
the author of the new children's book,
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• For elementary school kids, find
one child in his or her new class
they are "glad about" and have a
play date with him or her.
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Send your college student news from home!
Local Teachers Offer Their Advice
Becky Melamed, language arts,
Hillel of Metropolitan Detroit:
"The best way to start the year off
right is to be optimistic and posi-
"Children can sense if you are
anxious about the upcoming school
year. Be sure to be patient with your
child's teacher; it sometimes can
take a few days/weeks to get to know
a student well.
"Parents know their children as
they are at home; teachers know the
children as they are at school. The
combination of both views coupled
with parents and teachers working
together will ensure a successful,
Gillian Herold, head of English
department, Frankel Jewish
"I would encourage English stu-
dents to use the study of literature as
a chance to learn about the world, to
meet different people and encounter
different life experiences!"
College kids love news from home - the JN will
help keep them in touch with everything that is
happening while they are away!
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August 25 • 2011